The moon

Today we gazed at the full moon. The moon is just a roundish piece of old rock floating in space, relatively close to the earth. As it lazily revolves around our planet it reflects the light from the much more impressive ball of fire we call the sun.
The little bumps and ditches it has on its

surface cause the reflected light to showcase it’s presence in various shades of grey, black and white – probably the most boring ‘colors’ you can imagine. But that beauty has inspired everything from nursery rhymes to romantic songs to horror movies.
So the next time you feel shapeless, lifeless, dark and lumpy just reflect the light of God and find yourself transformed. Inspire others and see them spend hours wishing they could watch you forever!

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The One who holds the stars

Today I had the joy of leading worship in Church. I was led to use a theme which hinged on a song by Skillet called ‘Stars’. This may not be a standard choice for most worship sessions, but I loved how God moved to put things together to create a fruitful time of worship at Church.

Stars - Skillet worship

“The One who holds the stars”
When we look at all the wonderful things God has created, it is wonderful that we can respond to them by worshipping Him. It blows my mind away that our God is powerful enough to create mountains and flowers and hold each star in place perfectly. It is even more amazing that this awesome God cares so much more about each one of us. We can confidently surrender our lives, our hearts, our relationships, our pains, our joys to Him and let Him be in control. We have nothing to fear. To God be the glory!
Song List
1. All things bright and beautiful
2. Father in heaven (Blessed be the Lord God Almighty)
3. Stars
4. In the stars His handiwork
5. Awesome God

6. To God be the glory
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I looked at my phone today and questioned my existence. I had no Pokemon Go app to explore the world. There were no new friend requests on Facebook. The news was depressing – violence, rape, hatred, disasters and accidents. The internet connection was slow and frustrating. The streaming audio skipped and paused. My friends were last on WhatsApp 8 hours ago – no messages. The filters on Pixlr looked dull and boring now. The battery was down to 20%.
As my five year old son threw the ball at me, I ducked and discovered my existence. We ran out of the house together past little lanes to explore the park as we kicked the ball around. Three new kids joined us and were laughing as the ball went all over the park. The little bird nest we had seen last week had four hungry new chicks that were being tended to by their mother. The chirping sounds never paused and the wind swept through my hair without skipping a beat. Everyone paused to say hi to us as they jogged around the park. The rains had added a bright touch of green everywhere and the puddles reflected the evening sun. The clouds rushed in and spilt out a little drizzle that grew stronger. Hand in hand we ran through the heavy rain and reached home drenched and happy. My phone still lay on the bed – no new messages, no missed calls, no app updates, no notifications.
I felt alive!
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Remember, God looks at your heart …… not at your Facebook profile. So honour Him in all that you do…. not just in all that you post.

— Benji (@a2jesus) August 13, 2016

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Desert Rose

We’ve got a narrow balcony behind our home on the fifth floor. This was my second attempt to grow some plants there – the effort included dropping into a nursery and picking up whatever JJ thought looked good. Pots, some soil, some vermicompost, some accidents and they mostly survived (My previous success rate was 17%). I know one was a rose plant, there were a couple of cacti and the rest were mostly green with one which was a fancy shade of purple.
So when a friend dropped in and excitedly said, “Wow you have a desert rose!” She stared at it like it was a pot of gold and said, “This will survive. Water it once a week. Blah blah… etc… ooh…and so on”. I didnt have the heart to tell her that I picked it up without the faintest idea it was a desert plant. It sure didn’t look like a rose to me. I was faithfully watering it daily.
I also didnt have the heart to tell her I musically wasnt a fan of Seal, but then…..

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I had to wake up super early this morning to work on a deadline and was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise. Vellore comes across as a dry, crowded, dusty place and moments like these are a precious reminder that beauty is there – you just have to look for it!

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Fear View Mirror

My tweet for the day!

Objects in the Fear View Mirror are actually smaller than they appear. Let Faith overcome Fear. #jesus #ross #addicted2jesus

— Benji (@a2jesus) July 22, 2016

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The Return!

In protest against the terrible verdicts recently in the Indian courts relating to drunk driving and rape, I hereby return all the awards I have won in the last few years…… and then I come to the terrible realisation that I don’t really have any awards to return. Guess I’ll just relax and have myself a merry little Christmas and a blessed New Year with friends and family.

This is what I penned as my status update on Facebook. Although written in a lighter vein, I hope you understand the deeper layers in my thoughts.
While I am deeply confused by recent verdicts in cases in the Indian judiciary with regards to a Hit and Run and a Rape, I really don’t seem to be able to do anything about it other than venting. I can probably make people more aware of these incidents and verdicts and spread the message.  I don’t have any awards that I can return or symbolically make a stronger, more impactful protest. However, in spite of these incidents, my normal life goes on – my impact on family, friends, colleagues, patients, students are all real and non-imaginary. Each of us will impact the world in our own little ways. We may not be able to single handedly  remove corruption and injustice; we may feel helpless; but remember that a positive impact around you is a great way to start!

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The rains have started again in Tamilnadu and Chennai is bracing itself for another round of floods and boats. Some random thoughts that came to my mind:
1. The floods show the risk of trying to build an economically attractive city on an infrastructurally weak foundation.
2. If only the people stopped throwing garbage down the drains (literally) and the government stopped throwing the tax money down the drain (figuratively) the flood situation would not have been so pathetic.
3. As the officials proudly announced school and college leave in view of rains and flood, another basic right of children – education – was taken away. Food supply was threatened and Shelter was compromised already.
4. Chennaiites have an amazing sense of humour and resilience.  Is it Singara Chennai or Sinkagura Chennai (You will need to understand Tamil to catch that!
5. Never trust Tamil News Channels! Depending on their political affiliation these channels either showed opposition leaders saving people with their bare hands or relayed cooking shows as if nothing happened! In most places natural disasters unite people and political parties as they rally to shelter lives….. not in India!
I am not posting pictures here – there are some genuine ones and a lot of fake pictures doing the rounds on Facebook, whatsapp and twitter.

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Boldly I approach – worship at Peniel Tabernacle

It was touch and go – exams at VIT and incessant rains meant worship at church today could end up being minimalist. After a few text messages, the team was assembled. Dan hopped onto a bus at Bagayam and made it to Hospital before it rained too much. I picked her up and drove through slushy roads to pick up Sam. Andrew couldn’t join us as the bass guitar was not working. Arpudh whizzed in from Karagiri.
We entered a dark church with no electricity. Power had been out 4 times since the morning and the generator was not working. We also didn’t have a laptop! Would we end up with acoustic worship as we struggled to remember full lyrics?!

I’d chosen the theme “Boldly I approach” for worship based on Hebrews 14:6 and Rend Collectives song. Everything fell in place. The power came back half an hour before the service started. Gladwin filled in to help with the sound and Christina’s laptop made it on time for us to transfer the powerpoint (thanks to Gladwins thumb drive as both mine failed!). Kristin and Christina joined in for vocals and we started off with resounding praise as the church joined in. The worship took us on a journey of opening our eyes to see Jesus, being surrounded by his beauty as we boldly approached Him. Even though  “Boldly I approach” was a new song for our church, a lot of people joined in. This is the songlist:
1. Beautiful One (Tim Hughes)
2. Open The Yes of my Heart (Paul Baloche)
3. Open my eyes Lord
4. Turn your eyes upon Jesus
5. Boldly I approach (Rend Collective)
6. When I look into your Holiness
7. Blessed Assurance (Fanny Crosby)
This is the first time I have tried a Rend Collective song. Even with my limited guitar and vocal skills it was playable! You should read my post Discovering Rend Collective to understand why this is special to me!

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